I Love Certainty


I Love Certainty

Mar_PhotoI love certainty. Love it.

I've never been the "adventurous" type -- don't love the "let's see where this road takes us" view of travel. I like knowing the route, like having the GPS programmed, like knowing the timing of arriving at my destination.

I have known this, but it was made clear to me again Monday morning, as my husband and I made our way from our daughter's house to the airport for our flight to my son's city. Options were:  take a shuttle to the airport, or park our daughter's car at the nearest BART station and take the train with two stops to the airport with two large bags two carry-ons, two briefcases, and a purse.

Despite the challenge of the transfer with all that luggage, etc, the BART train won. Why? The shuttle is more uncertain. I have to depend on the driver to show up on time, traffic delays are unpredictable, and last time we used it he had an additional person to pick up, and we rode along for a detour which took us the opposite direction from the airport.

This morning, we knew that if we got to the BART station for the 6:27 departure, we would arrive at the proper stop at precisely 6:55. The train shuttle to the terminal would then stop at the same platform at precisely 7 a.m., arriving at the terminal at 7:08. We would be plenty early for our 9:10 flight even with security lines.

And, it went exactly as planned. The train platform was painted yellow with bumps to warn you of the edge, with a black painted area where the doors would stop. It stopped within inches of where we were lined up. I "needed" that on that travel morning. We checked our luggage at the curb, went through no-line security, and had time to get breakfast before our flight departed right on time.

I'm no psychologist, but after 61 years I know me pretty well. I know that when life is  unpredictable or chaotic, I look some area that can be steady and predictable. The day Tom lost his job, in September 2013 (which we now know related to his disease process, but didn't know it then), I went to our basement and began sorting things into "zones," and concentrated on organizing gift wrap and gift bags into occasions, colors, and sizes. One area of my life was organized and certain. I am cluttery by nature, and I knew that this sudden burst of organization had more to do with emotions than anything.

It's my intention to embrace uncertainty in light of Tom's diagnosis of fronto temporal degeneration. It is a "let's see where this road takes us," whether I like it or not. And resisting it will only add to my suffering and grief. I will grieve, but I also want to journey well, with an anticipation that surprises may await around each corner. There have already been wonderful things in the process.

One happy surprise is, for the most part, I am living a Carpe Diem life for the first time in my life, and wish I had done it sooner. I wish I had sooner seen the beauty to be found in each day, each sunset, each flower, each new stranger greeted, each new friendship made.

On the way to the airport on the BART train, there was a glorious morning sky, a combination of sunrise glow, swirling clouds, and a crescent moon. I hadn't planned it, it was such a contrast to the noise and rattles of our transportation.  And yet there it was, a happy surprise, a beautiful thing greeting us on our way. And fellow travelers chatted about the new monorail and how to find our terminal, such chatting pretty rare on the BART normally.

I love certainty, but not all of it. Not the inexorable march of disease progression, not the incurability of this disease. I would enjoy a happy surprise that would change those certainties.

And I'm beginning to embrace uncertainty, since life can bring surprises that are quite beautiful.

I recently placed a wall decal which reads, "When life is far from perfect ... it can still be beautiful."

May it be so.



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In one of our recent chats, you all reminded me that anything, especially good, can happen. So, that's the blessing of uncertainty--anything, like a breathtaking sunset, can happen. :)


Mar, i loved reading your post. It brought me a feeling of peace. Thank you for sharing.


Five years ago this certainty girl married a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants guy who was subsequently diagnosed with cancer. Goodbye certainty, hello total unpredictability. It's been hair raising to say the least but with moments of absolute beauty I couldn't have seen any other way.


I love you Margason! I myself (as you know) fly by the seat of my pants. Always have, always will. Caregiving has actually forced me in the other direction. Plan more, weigh ALL the possibilities. I lived in a house I hated 2 years longer than I would have because of SIL. I have to plan ahead now for any outings....where I used to just GO. CARPE DIEM had been my mantra. GPS on the other hand, is my friend....only because I can't find my way out of a paper bag...still get lost in the city I've lived my entire life in. Before gps I got lost all the time, but they were fun. I'd grab the kids and take off to LA or the beach and get lost coming home. Fun times. Notorious for running out of gas, scarred my cousins for life by those adventures...they think a 1/4 tank is empty 'cause of me! But those silly times made for great stories. Probably why I'm good in crisis, I always roll with it. Always good to go. Hmmmmm another thing learned! I learn so much from you guys!

Lillie Fuller

May it be so, my friend! I love your post, I love your attitude! Somedays I feel like I've known you forever and other days I wish I had! Thank you for this post!

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